By Mike Archer. If the BC Government needs homeless people removed from the legislative grounds in Victoria they call on the provincial police force – the RCMP – not the Victoria Police Department to do their dirty work. The legislature is provincial government property.
The strip of grass on which the homeless are living on Gladys Avenue is provincial government property.
Why is the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) acting on BC Hydro’s behalf in their enforcement of a ‘No Trespassing’ notice on July 31st?
Did the APD volunteer to do it? Did Mayor Banman suggest they do it? Of all the police forces in the world to move in on the homeless and force another ‘Abbotsford Shuffle’ who in their right mind would choose Bob Rich’s cops for the job?
The APD has a terrible record of mishandling the homeless crisis in Abbotsford; has had to apologize and make restitution for instances of abuse, theft, destruction and the use of pepper spray against these men and women who suffer from mental illness, alcohol dependence and drug addiction.
Police Chief Bob Rich is on record describing his ‘displace and disperse’ policy of helping the homeless move a few feet at a time as if it were some form of social policy for dealing with homelessness and poverty.
His rude, demeaning and insulting emails about the homeless, revealed by Abbotsford Today, after the world famous Chicken Manure Incident ought to have prompted his resignation but even a BC Supreme Court Justice’s admonition that the APD is ‘A place time forgot‘ for its mistreatment of the handicapped, hasn’t seemed to have phased Chief Bob.
The shooting of Roy Roberts behind the Food Bank this spring has only increased the fear which homeless people already have when it comes to Bob’s cops.“There is a sense among the people who live on Abbotsford’s streets that there is an anticipation and an eagerness for the coming confrontation on the part of the police. We are noticing a decided change in the attitude of the police over the last few days,” says Abbotsford head of the BC/Yukon Drug War Survivors Barry Shantz.
“We will have observers and media present to cover this Chicken Shit Happy Tree Exodus. They still haven’t come up with anything better than The Abbotsford Shuffle.”
This is a police department which is demonstrably out of control on the homeless file and completely ill-suited for the coming confrontation with the largest collection of homeless camps the City has ever seen.
Mayor Banman, who seems determined to fight homelessness with lawyers and police, must stand up and take the responsibility he claimed (without ever doing anything to deserve it) for his administration’s use of chicken feces as a social policy tool last summer, and protect these citizens from Bob’s out-of-control cops.
This is not how civilized communities in the Western World deal with homelessness in the 21st Century. If Banman, who intends to get re-elected in order to continue the work he started, hopes to have anyone vote for him other than a few downtown business owners, the Chamber of Commerce executive and a few rich people who want to cleanse the City of homeless people, he should stand up and act like a mayor.
Call off the APD Bruce. Have some balls and force BC Hydro to use their own police to their dirty work.
If Banman insists on building his reputation as the Homeless Fighting Mayor. We may require United Nations observers before this is all over.